I just read that Saturday mail delivery will end this August! After my initial visceral reaction to the change of what I would call a national tradition, right up there with baseball and hot dogs, I began to reflect on what this means to me. Actually, not much in the larger scheme of things, that is once I remember not to stop at the mailbox on Saturdays, which habit has existed for more years than I am willing to share.
Let’s being with a moment of silence to think about what mail means to each of us and how it will make us feel to have it delivered one day, 1/6, 16.7% less each week. I know that for me mail has been a symbol of hope (college admission notification), a symbol of despair (job rejection), a symbol of joy (wedding or birth announcement) and a symbol of friendship (simply having anyone send anything, including junk mail, to me so there is something in that mailbox when I check it). I never seem to have those strong emotions when I read an email or a tweet or a facebook post. Although I do have the opportunity to immediately react with social media (which is not always good), I no longer take the time to experience the emotions driven by the communication, as I did during the walk (or drive) from the mailbox back to the house while I processed the news (good or bad) received in the mailbox. This to me is somewhat sad and is, perhaps, a symbol or a much larger issue than mail being delivered one less day a week, but this is not the time or place to discuss it further.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media and am as hooked as everyone else, but mail is mail is mail and the physical feel of a beautiful envelope or a glossy postcard or a cheap tri-fold flyer cannot be matched on the internet. I know…. stop waxing poetic and get over it! Well, as of August 2013, I will have no choice but to get over it one more day each week.
I accept that there is the need for the USPS to close up shop on Saturdays to save the entire institution for the 5 other days, and I know I will still get packages on Saturdays, which obviously can’t be sent via email, and I understand that it will save the industry $2 billion annually, and that is all great… but as we age and watch our symbols disappear, to me this event is worthy of personal comment and a fond farewell!
Apparently, however, Hallmark is not being as nostalgic. In fact, the company is not taking this sitting down. Hallmark has apparently hired a new lobbyist to fight Congress, since it is concerned about lost greeting card profits. All I can say is OMG!